So I actually have been updating at least 1000 words daily for a whole month now somewhere else.
I’m getting some serious reviews out of what should be just another stupid wish fulfillment story.
I love this- the original in another world with my smartphone was so formulaic of the isekai genre’s most standard tropes that it was entertaining like a car crash, and digestable like soup- interesting in how bad some of the choices would be for a story and yet so standard for isekai that one can stomach it- altogether potentially entertaining but no real substance.
The story basically gave the MC every possible advantage an isekai protagonist type could get (physical enhancements, ultimate magic potential, and tech from his past world) and the MC was so bland and nice that you kind of shrug and go along with a lot of what he does. It had good moments- I like how out of all the power the mc has the spell he wins the most with is the magical equivalent of a cartoon banana peel, and the uses of comboing his phone with the world’s magic is interesting- but he isn’t a chosen or summoned hero, any great threat to the world is far away and only hinted at worst so there is little to justify the MC being so powerful and he is so bland that while he doesn’t grate on the viewer he doesn’t engage either. Its like they threw in as many isekai tropes they liked and removed any they didn’t so all the characters are nice the threats are mostly easily overcome and wanted to see what kind of story that would be.
A bunch of the boosts the MC got would be interesting alone- the physical enhancements with no magic would force him to compete against others who certainly have some form of magic helping, the universal magical alignment would be interesting especially as it give access to certain relics later on in the story as their creator was the same- but having unlimited mana means the MC is never forced to be creative, and every trick he does use feels like an idle thought, but if he had normal mana levels he would have to be strategic in how he spent his power, just throwing more mana at the problem wouldn’t work. Having infinite mana could be intersting too, depending on what spells he knew, the point would be to force creativity. Heck just the smartphone could be don well, as you have shown here, depending on how it interacts with the world’s magic.
In your story you have managed to make it tens if not hundreds of times more engaging by first, giving the MC a personality, 2nd by giving him someone to bounce off of in the form of Monika, 3rd create investment in their pasts and issues, and 4th rebuilt every moderately interesting interaction in the canon story into a new more entertaining form by having said characters be involved and actually HAVE character, and finally, you make the isekai protagonist powers interesting again by not only giving them to someone who actually thinks about them, but by limiting them and spliting them between the MC and Monika you enhance their character interactions and make the possiblities many times more interesting because we know they will try and do interesting things with it.
So in short Bravo I can’t wait to read more
So I somehow only stumbled across this today and binged it. I’m with you that I really think the main character of In Another World With My Smartphone is too overpowered to be anything but boring, and I think you’re absolutely right, dropping the power level slightly is gonna make things more interesting.
And then Monika cranks the power level right back up, but A) her Null powers are still less broken than Touya’s, and B) her power boosts increase the drama, not eliminate it!
I should not really be proud of writing goddamn fanfic, but this really goes back to my core beliefs as a writer. I believe that there is no inherently ‘bad’ concept – it’s all just a matter of how you take the idea.
I believe that a story is made mediocre only by not following through to the furthest extent the implications of they have plainly written.
Powerlevels don’t matter. There are more ways than just physical conflict to introduce tension into a story.
Character -> Plot -> Conflict.
Just look at this thing.
Just look at this utterly generic yahoo.
Isekai wa Smartphone is almost impressive as a standard for how bland and generic and utterly lacking in challenge as an anime can be. It is so bad that it can’t even be called bad, because that would imply the work could actually provoke any strong emotion.
And that’s why I felt compelled to do this. Because it’s my proof of concept.
Take as generic and one-note the characters, as servicing the protagonist the story may be, and actually just change one thing – one tiny little thing – and the whole thing suddenly acquires a lot more depth if you dare to follow that everything else that changes because of that alteration in the premise.
Just change the perspective by which the protagonist views the world he’s entered into.
In Another World with JUST MONIKA sure isn’t high literature, but if Isekai wa Smartphone could get published and get turned into an anime, sure as hell there’s hope for us writers to make it big eventually.
I actually respect it for the length and sheer effort that went into writing it for eleven books now, despite the sheer lack of worldbuilding and what could have been juicy plotlines that went nowhere.
What any writer needs most is that work ethic.
I’m not trying to ‘correct’ the story, but to demonstrate character balance – why harem anime is stupid, not just because it is demeaning but because interesting female characters lose what is actually interesting about them and their brains when around the MC.
A strong female character does not necessarily need to be strong physically or magically – hell, there are a lot of overpowered characters I can point to that I can still deem as weak characters – but must have ideals and agency. Every person has things they value, things they can endure, and things they cannot.
Girls fighting over a boy is not drama. Canon Isekai Smartphone is actually fairly unique in that we don’t see any of that tired old bullshit, they actually communicated like sane people about their mutual desires.
None of that abusive tsundere female-on-male violence either.
(How strange, to call a work interesting because of everything it lacks instead of everything notable it may show to the reader.)
Isekai Smartphone lacked drama because no one could ever put anything of theirs at risk. No one’s ideals were ever at any point challenged. No one ever felt in danger of failing, of losing something meaningful to them.
I’m not making a more dramatic story. I’m making a story that dares to ask itself questions about what it wants to accomplish.
This is not a DECONSTRUCTION.
This is a RECONSTRUCTION of the whole goddamn genre.
I am going to keep writing this for a while until the inspiration burns out.
As a writing experiment, I think it may be useful in the long run. A writer usually doesn’t need to ask why what they have written is effective prose, only reach for that feeling – “Does this work?”
It certainly feels like it’s working so I’m going to try to hang onto that, to absorb the unconscious value judgments I’ve been making, to reuse in more serious works later.
I’ll let you guys know when I’ve got even more original works out in the pipeline.